Laerte Codonho: CEO of Dolly Sodas, Taking on the Giants

Published / by soundproof

On June 29, 2019, an article on Laerte Codonho was published, titled “Marketing Prowess of Laerte Codonho Helps Combat Unfair Competition”. The article focuses on Codonho’s clever business maneuvers to keep his Brazil-based soda company Dolly relevant in an industry dominated by larger companies such as Coca-Cola.

Although competition is a natural and healthy part of capitalist economies, the article points out that when the primary competitors are powerful and influential companies that have the advantage of visibility, there is a large tendency for anti-competitive and unfair business practices to take place. This is why Laerte Codonho is notable; his small company has managed to stay relevant within Brazil despite an environment that does not favor its presence (Everybodywiki). 

Laerte Codonho was able to outcompete larger companies in Brazil first by introducing the country’s first diet soda in 1987. Along with a series of other products that rode on the coattails of the first diet soda’s success, Dolly has been able to make waves in Brazil to the point that it gained national attention in the 1990s. Today, it remains relevant by primarily selling Dolly Guarana, a drink that helped Dolly command 10% of the market in Brazil and over 30% of the market in Sao Paolo in particular. 

The article breaks down his success in the market in the subsequent paragraphs. One reason for Laerte Codonho‘s success is an effective marketing campaign: in the 2000s, he led an advertising campaign which emphasized the quality of his products, with quotes such as “for those who are not afraid to change… for the better.” A memorable mascot, Dollynho (basically, a sentient bottle of soda), also contributed to Laerte Codonho’s success.

As the article states, this was not without its drawbacks. Dolly was in constant conflict with Coca-Cola, as Dolly was commanding an increasingly large amount of sales to the point where the government began to intervene against Laerte Codonhos company. This is the source of “unfair business practices” mentioned early in this article; larger companies often have more resources on hand to out-negotiate local competition and thus, are at an advantage when trying to command a certain share of the national market. Laerte Codonho continues to feud with Coca-Cola executives to avoid being unfairly pushed out of his own country’s market.

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